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how cassini's saturn odyssey exceeds expectations


after 14 years of exploration, the cassini spacecraft is preparing to write its final chapter on the saturn system. no other spacecraft in history has come to know a single planetary system as intimately as cassini knows saturn: cassini is the first spacecraft to visit saturn up close since the voyager probes flew by in 1980 and 1981, and the mission has given scientists their best-ever views of the gas giant. the probe has spent more than a decade observing saturn, studying storms in its cloud tops, learning about its strange, striped atmosphere, probing its cloaked interior and zipping through its more than 60 moons and a ring system stretching more than eight times the planet's radius. "the mission has exceeded all of our expectations, done better than we could have ever dreamed," curt






epic cassini saturn mission begins 'grand finale' this month


nasa's veteran cassini mission will officially kick off its farewell tour of the saturn system on april 22 with a final close encounter of the ringed planet's largest moon, titan. then, on sept. 15, cassini will burn up in saturn's atmosphere.






cassini’s grand finale: a dive between saturn and its rings


cassini will penetrate the narrow gap between saturn and its innermost ring about once a week until sept. 15, when it will crash into saturn and be incinerated.the cassini spacecraft is about to begin its great cosmic swan dive.on saturday morning, the spacecraft, which has been circling saturn and its environs for the past 13 years, will skim over the hazes of titan, the ringed planet’s biggest moon. titan’s gravity will reach out and pull cassini onto a new path, downward into the narrow gap between saturn and its innermost ring, where no human artifact has ever gone.cassini will penetrate that formerly inviolate space not once but 22 times, about once a week until sept. 15, when it will crash into saturn and be incinerated. this summer then is the last hurrah for cassini and the team th






titan flyby assures cassini's crash into saturn


there's no turning back now for the cassini probe at saturn.  in the early morning hours of april 22, the cassini spacecraft at saturn made one last close flyby of titan, capturing a few final images of this hazy moon. the flyby altered the spacecraft's orbit in such a way that cassini will be unable to avoid crashing into saturn this september. cassini has been studying saturn and its moons since 2004, and is running low on fuel. for its final act, cassini is scheduled to make 22 dives between saturn and its rings, starting april 26. the spacecraft will then dive into saturn on sept. 15, transmitting for as long as possible to provide information about the gas giant's atmosphere.an unprocessed image of saturn's moon titan, captured by nasa's cassini spacecraft during its final close flyby






titan flyby assures cassini's crash into saturn


there's no turning back now for the cassini probe at saturn.  in the early morning hours of april 22, the cassini spacecraft at saturn made one last close flyby of titan, capturing a few final images of this hazy moon. the flyby altered the spacecraft's orbit in such a way that cassini will be unable to avoid crashing into saturn this september. cassini has been studying saturn and its moons since 2004, and is running low on fuel. for its final act, cassini is scheduled to make 22 dives between saturn and its rings, starting april 26. the spacecraft will then dive into saturn on sept. 15, transmitting for as long as possible to provide information about the gas giant's atmosphere. "with this flyby [of titan], we're committed to the grand finale," said earl maize, cassini project manager at






nasa’s cassini saturn probe flies between saturn and its rings


cape canaveral, fla. --nasa’s cassini spacecraft faced one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini flew past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize called it, pushed cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before — into the gap between saturn and its rings.it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings — even as small as a speck of sand — could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini made its first pass through the relatively narrow gap early wednesday, nasa said.twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.launched in 1997, cassini reached saturn in 2004 and has been exp






nasa’s cassini spacecraft set for final act, plunge into saturn


cassini will finally take a leap into some of the only territory it has yet to explore: the gap between saturn and its rings.       






cassini's saturn crash 2017 – how to watch its 'grand finale'


the cassini spacecraft is set to pull off its final mission after 20 years in space, collecting data as it crashes into saturn’s atmosphere. read all about cassini's "grand finale" and its sept. 15 suicide plunge.






nasa’s cassini spacecraft set for final act, deadly plunge into saturn


cassini will finally take a leap into some of the only territory it has yet to explore: the gap between saturn and its rings.       






nasa’s cassini saturn probe flies between saturn and its rings


cape canaveral, fla. -- nasa’s cassini spacecraft faced one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini flew past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize called it, pushed cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before - into the gap between saturn and its rings.it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings - even as small as a speck of sand - could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini made its first pass through the relatively narrow gap early wednesday, nasa said.twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.launched in 1997, cassini reached saturn in 2004 and has been ex






last adventure ahead for nasa’s cassini spacecraft at saturn


cape canaveral, fla. (ap) — nasa’s cassini spacecraft faces one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini swings past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize calls it, will push cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before — into the gap between saturn and its rings. it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings — even as small as a speck of sand — could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini will make its first pass through the relatively narrow gap wednesday. twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.most read stories3-course dinners for $32 starting april 2.launche






no end to saturn's mysteries in cassini's closing days


it might as well be the mission motto: "saturn continues to surprise us." that's what earl maize, project manager for the cassini mission at saturn, said during a news conference today (aug. 29). he was referring to the fact that the inner ring system where the cassini probe is spending some of its final weeks doesn't have as much dust as scientists anticipated, and is therefore not as harsh on the spacecraft's instruments. if the mission could last longer — if the probe weren't running out of fuel, that is — maize said he'd love to have cassini explore that region longer. this trend of finding surprising or unexpected physical characteristics — of saturn and its moons — has characterized cassini's entire 13-year stint in the saturnian system, the scientists said, and continues to prove tr






nasa prepares for cassini spacecraft's daring final mission


why it matters to you in cassini's final months, nasa hopes the spacecraft will offer new insight into the solar system and and saturn's origins.it’s been nearly two decades since the cassini-hyugens spacecraft launched from earth toward saturn, entering the ringed planet’s orbit on july 1, 2004. the huygens lander separated on christmas day to dive into saturn’s atmosphere, leaving cassini to study the saturn system alone.but now cassini is running out of fuel and nasa is preparing for its grand finale — a series of dives through the 1,500 gap between saturn and its rings.“no spacecraft has ever gone through the unique region that we’ll attempt to boldly cross 22 times,” thomas zurbuchen, associate administrator for the science mission directorate at nasa, said in a press release. “what w






no end to saturn's mysteries in cassini's closing days


scientists are preparing for a bountiful harvest of science data when the cassini probe makes its final death plunge into saturn's atmosphere.






spacecraft cassini's first pass between saturn and its rings goes flawlessly


great news for cassini fans: the nasa spacecraft successfully completed its first pass through the uncharted territory between saturn and its rings late wednesday.hopefully the next 21 orbits through this never-before-explored space will be just as successful.more than 100 members of the cassini team and their families gathered in the von karman auditorium at the jet propulsion laboratory in la canada flintridge to await the news.the first signal, indicating that the spacecraft was alive, came right on time at 11:55 p.m pacific, to cheers and fist pumps.about 10 minutes later, another set of signals confirmed that cassini was beaming science and engineering data across more than 750 million miles of space from the saturn system to earth.someone in the audience murmured: “what a good spacec






cassini saturnian exploration | | al jazeera


an unmanned nasa spacecraft, cassini, is poised to plunge into the gap between saturn and its rings, a pioneering journey that could offer an unprecedented view of the sixth planet from the sun.cassini is a 20-year-old joint mission of nasa, the european space agency, and the italian space agency.the 6.7-metre spacecraft launched in 1997, back when bill clinton was president, and began orbiting saturn in 2004.cassini's latest adventure is a swansong for the spacecraft, as it is running low on fuel, and will make a death plunge into saturn's atmosphere on september 15.






success! cassini's first pass between saturn and its rings goes flawlessly


great news cassini fans! the nasa spacecraft successfully completed its first pass through the uncharted territory between saturn and its rings late wednesday.hopefully the next 21 orbits through this never-before-explored space will be just as successful.more than 100 members of the cassini team and their families gathered in the von karman auditorium at the jet propulsion laboratory in la canada flintridge to await the news.the first signal, indicating that the spacecraft was alive, came right on time at 11:55 p.m pacific. (cheers! fist pumps!)about 10 minutes later, another set of signals confirmed that cassini was beaming science and engineering data across more than 750 million miles of space from the saturn system to earth.someone in the audience murmured: “what a good spacecraft, wh






cassini's grand finale is saving the best saturn science for last


as cassini wraps up its 13-year mission in saturn's system, scientists are preparing for the spacecraft's final burst of observations in the never-before-explored region between the planet and its inner rings. cassini crossed saturn's ring plane for the first time today (april 26). next, after a series of 22 orbits and close flybys of the rings, the robotic probe will take a death dive into the planet's atmosphere on sept. 15.  "we're going to have to say goodbye to this amazing mission," said athena coustenis, a cassini co-investigator at the paris observatory in france. [cassini's 'grand finale' saturn orbits explained (video)] "i have another five months to get very emotional about it," coustenis told reporters yesterday (april 25) during a news conference at the annual meeting of the e






last adventure for cassini: nasa’s spacecraft will dive into treacherous territo


cape canaveral, fla. — nasa’s cassini spacecraft faces one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini swings past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize calls it, will push cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before — into the gap between saturn and its rings. it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings — even as small as a speck of sand — could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini will make its first pass through the relatively narrow gap wednesday. twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.launched in 1997, cassini reached saturn in 2004 and has been exploring






video: cassini's first grand finale dive over saturn: digital photography review


cassini's series of 'grand finale' dives by saturn continues to mesmerize us. in the above video, you'll first see a 'cassini-eye-view' of the surface of saturn whizzing by, starting with the swirling north pole of saturn. but it doesn't stop there, as nasa/jpl-caltech also shows you a three dimensional simulation of exactly where the probe is as it's capturing the images.the spacecraft's altitude dropped from 45,000 miles to 4,200 during this dive, and 'as this occurred, the smallest resolvable features in the atmosphere changed from 5.4 miles (8.7 kilometers) per pixel to 0.5 mile (810 meters) per pixel,' according to nasa.nasa even goes so far as to note that the camera settings were 'conservative' here, so we can expect some better results as the grand finale continues.via: http://www.






here's how the probe will spend its final days


the one-week countdown has begun for the cassini spacecraft's fatal dive into saturn's atmosphere.  on sept. 15, cassini will dive straight into saturn, collecting in-situ data from the planet's atmosphere and firing it back to earth in the 1 to 2 minutes before breaking apart. the dive will bring a dramatic end to the probe's 13-year tenure in the saturnian system, where it has unearthed many incredible and unexpected science discoveries.  this coming week is filled with activity for cassini. check out our complete coverage page for a full schedule of events and how to watch them. [cassini's "grand finale" at saturn in pictures] on saturday (sept. 9), the probe will make the last of its 22 dives through saturn's rings — a flight path that has produced some incredible views. this view of s






watch as nasa's cassini speeds past saturn's rings in this awesome view


saturn's famous rings streak by in a gorgeous new video captured by nasa's cassini spacecraft. cassini took the 21 photos that make up the video in a 4-minute stretch on aug. 20, during the probe's latest plunge between saturn's cloud tops and the planet's innermost rings. cassini has been performing such dives every 6.5 days since late april, during the "grand finale" phase of its venerable mission. "the entirety of the main rings can be seen here, but due to the low viewing angle, the rings appear extremely foreshortened," nasa officials wrote in a description of the video. [latest saturn photos from nasa's cassini orbiter] "the perspective shifts from the sunlit side of the rings to the unlit side, where sunlight filters through," they added. "on the sunlit side, the grayish c ring look






google doodle celebrates cassini probe's 'grand finale' saturn dive


today, google is honoring nasa's cassini mission to saturn with an adorable google doodle featuring the spacecraft swooping between the planet and its rings. cassini kicked off its "grand finale" at saturn this morning (april 26) with the first of 22 planned ring dives that the spacecraft will execute before fatally crashing into saturn on sept. 15. the animated google doodle shows a cute cassini cartoon snapping photos of a smiling saturn while diving through the planet's iconic rings. nasa expects to receive the first close-up shots from today's flyby tomorrow (april 27), but the best images are yet to come. [cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn: nasa's plan in pictures] as cassini's orbit gradually nears saturn over the next few months, these close-ups will keep getting closer. the spacec






google doodle celebrates cassini probe's 'grand finale' saturn dive


today, google is honoring nasa's cassini mission to saturn with an adorable google doodle featuring the spacecraft swooping between the planet and its rings. cassini kicked off its "grand finale" at saturn this morning (april 26) with the first of 22 planned ring dives that the spacecraft will execute before fatally crashing into saturn on sept. 15. the animated google doodle shows a cute cassini cartoon snapping photos of a smiling saturn while diving through the planet's iconic rings. nasa expects to receive the first close-up shots from today's flyby tomorrow (april 27), but the best images are yet to come. [cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn: nasa's plan in pictures] as cassini's orbit gradually nears saturn over the next few months, these close-ups will keep getting closer. the spacec






2 key things cassini discovered on mission to saturn


cassini is the most sophisticated space probe ever built. launched in 1997 as a joint nasa/european space agency mission, it took seven years to journey to saturn. it’s been orbiting the sixth planet from the sun ever since, sending back data of immense scientific value and images of magnificent beauty. cassini now begins one last campaign.…






cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn: nasa's plan in pictures


after 13 years of orbiting saturn, nasa's cassini spacecraft will take a suicidal plunge into the planet on sept. 15, 2017.






cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn: nasa's plan in pictures


after 13 years of orbiting saturn, nasa's cassini spacecraft will take a suicidal plunge into the planet on sept. 17, 2017.






cassini spacecraft may send its most valuable data on day it dies in saturn&apos


on september 15, cassini will dive into saturn’s atmosphere, where the craft will disintegrate and melt in a matter of less than two minutes.        






new documentary dives deep into nasa's amazing cassini mission


a new documentary looks back at the triumphs of the cassini probe — which has spent more than a decade revealing the secrets of saturn — ahead of the spacecraft's scheduled death dive into the ringed planet.  cassini captured the public imagination with its stunning images of the gas giant saturn and its up-close examination of the planet's flowing ring system. over the years, the probe discovered new moons around saturn, and dug deep into the strange environments of the two largest saturnian satellites.  "kingdom of saturn: cassini's epic quest" reviews the historical figures who laid the groundwork for the mission, the probe's major discoveries, and how the probe connected with people on earth. the movie is available to watch now on amazon. [cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn: nasa's pla






spacecraft survives unprecedented trip between saturn, rings


cape canaveral, fla. — nasa's cassini spacecraft has survived an unprecedented trip between saturn and its rings, and has amazing pictures to show for it.flight controllers regained contact with cassini on thursday, a day after it became the first craft to cross this hazardous region. the rings are comprised of countless icy particles, any of which could have smacked cassini. the spacecraft's big dish antenna served as a shield as it hurtled through the narrow gap, temporarily cutting off communications.cassini skimmed 1,900 miles (3,100 kilometers) above saturn's cloud tops, closer than ever before, and came within 200 miles (320 kilometers) of the innermost visible ring. scientists say the pictures show details never seen before.twenty-one more crossings are planned — about one a week —






saturn's mysterious hexagon gets a close-up in new cassini photo


saturn's north pole sits smack-dab in the center of a strange, six-sided feature that scientists don't quite understand, and a new photo shines the spotlight on this mysterious feature. nasa's cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting saturn since 2004, has taken several photos of this weird geometry that dominates saturn's north pole. this close-up was captured with cassini's wide-angle camera on dec. 2, 2016, and was released today (feb. 27). at the time the image was captured, cassini was about 619,000 miles (996,000 kilometers) away from saturn. "the north pole of saturn sits at the center of its own domain," nasa officials said in a statement. "around it swirl the clouds, driven by the fast winds of saturn. beyond that orbits saturn's retinue of moons and the countless small particl






cassini snaps saturn's strange polar vortex during daring dive


the bizarre vortex spinning at saturn's north pole takes center stage in a newly released photo by nasa's cassini spacecraft.






cassini's 'grand finale' dives could show how quickly saturn's rings will fade


while we've known about the beautiful features of saturn's rings for more than 400 years, the history of them and their fate remain an enigma. a new paper published in the journal icarus postulates that saturn's rings will last roughly 1 billion years, which contradicts other views that the features will fade away in less than 100 million years. the recent finding is based on 2004 cassini data showing a low number of negatively charged electrons in the central "b" ring of saturn, the densest part of the rings — but more information will come shortly as cassini looks closer at the rings. electrons are an indication of erosion within the rings. when the twin voyager spacecraft flew by saturn in 1980 and 1981, studies suggested there was enhanced plasma over the rings resulting from meteors c






this is our first 'sound' from the creepy void inside saturn's rings


image: nasatoday, cassini prepares to once again boldly go where no spacecraft has gone before: into the gap between saturn and its rings. while we’re all excited to see the the results of cassini’s second dive, astronomers are still parsing through the findings from her first. and some, including a soundscape generated from the emptiness, are pretty freaky.advertisementapparently, the orbiter’s fist dive between saturn and the gas giant’s rings, on april 26th, revealed that this mysterious, unexplored region is pretty much devoid of particles. cassini project manager earl maize called it “the big empty,” which sounds like something from stranger things, but you know, in space. “the region between the rings and saturn is ‘the big empty,’ apparently,” he said in a statement. “cassini will s






cassini probe sets up saturn 'grand finale'


media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionearl maize: "we can't leave cassini in an uncontrolled orbit near saturn"cassini is about to use a slingshot around saturn's moon titan to put it on a path towards destruction. saturday's flyby will sweep the probe into an orbit that takes it in between the planet's rings and its atmosphere. this gap-run gives the satellite the chance finally to work out the length of a day on saturn and also to figure out the age of its stunning rings. but the manoeuvre means also that it cannot escape a fiery plunge into saturn's clouds in september. the us space agency (nasa) is calling an end to 12 years of exploration and discovery at saturn because the probe's propellant tanks are all but empty. controllers cannot risk an unresponsive satellite






cassini probe sets up saturn 'grand finale'


media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionearl maize: "we can't leave cassini in an uncontrolled orbit near saturn"cassini is in the midst of using a slingshot around saturn's moon titan to put it on a path towards destruction. saturday's flyby will sweep the probe into an orbit that takes it in between the planet's rings and its atmosphere. this gap-run gives the satellite the chance finally to work out the length of a day on saturn and also to figure out the age of its stunning rings. but the manoeuvre means also that it cannot escape a fiery plunge into saturn's clouds in september. the us space agency (nasa) is calling an end to 12 years of exploration and discovery at saturn because the probe's propellant tanks are all but empty. controllers cannot risk an unresponsive






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